Red Sox pregame notes: David Ortiz at first base, Mike Napoli sitting about 'putting best lineup on the field'

Ryan Hannable
July 05, 2015 - 7:57 am
It was an unusual lineup posted Sunday morning at Fenway Park with David Ortiz penciled in at first base. With a struggling Mike Napoli, 1 for his last 17, he gets the day off with Ortiz playing first base at Fenway Park for the first time since July 16, 2005 and the first time in an non-interleague game since August 5, 2006. Hanley Ramirez will serve as the designated hitter. "Today's lineup I think gives us the best lineup we can put on the field," manager John Farrell said. "Recognize it's been quite some time since David has played first base in an American League game. Also gives us the ability to have [Alejandro] De Aza in left field. It's about putting best lineup on the field today." Napoli is going through arguably the toughest stretch of his career, batting just .168 since June 1 with only eight extra-base hits in that time. He's also walked 10 times, compared to 35 strikeouts over 113 plate appearances. "He's obviously in a stretch right now where he's grinding through some things," Farrell said. "You've seen him work counts, you've seen him go early in the count. The hard contact has been inconsistent. I think there's been times where he's looked for a certain pitch in the count and not got it and has resulted in a located pitch by a pitcher. He fully recognizes where he's at and continues to work at getting this thing turned around. Felt like today was a day to give him a little bit of a breather with tomorrow being the off day and a couple of days to regroup." Ortiz playing first base doesn't appear to be something which happen often. It was an opportune time with Monday being an off day, as well as another on Thursday. "I don't know how frequently we would see this going forward," Farrell said. In other news, Farrell announced Wade Miley and Rick Porcello will start Tuesday and Wednesday against the Marlins and Justin Masterson will pitch out of the bullpen for the remainder of the first half. Porcello is 4-9 with a 6.08 ERA and hasn't won a game since May 16. He's coming off of his worst outing of the season, allowing seven runs in two innings against the Blue Jays last Wednesday. With the off days this week there was an option to keep him out until after the All-Star break, but that would give him almost three weeks in between starts and that was something the team didn't want to do. "Didn't want him to go two and a half, three weeks without being in a game situation," Farrell said. "One it's not Rick's personality -- he's a strong competitor," he added. "He fully recognizes the stretch that he's in and what we're trying to do to get back to being consistent with his two-seamer and curveball approach. Does not want to sit on the side and just -- you can throw all the bullpens you want and his bullpens have been quality, but it's the in-game execution where that's got to continue to be put forth. To match him up with [Ryan Hanigan] on Wednesday is the approach being taken. Where doing everything that we can that is available to us to get him on the right track."